Batch 4 of submissions
We all live in a yellow submarine
Yellow submarine, yellow submarine
Oh, sorry, still can’t get over Pauline Hanson’s latest demonstration of the excellent general knowledge our parliamentary representatives have… that multi-million dollar submarines can only go underwater for 20 minutes at a time!
The Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee has been hard at work, and are up to 54 submissions that have been publicly released. They have again skipped a few submissions, as 50 was released all on it’s lonesome a few days ago, but now the missing 46 – 49 have been added. However, now 52, 54 & 55 missing, so unless they are confidential, they’ll probably turn up in the next batch.
I would summarise this batch as all the submissions being damning of the Cashless Debit Card (Trial), and the lack of evidence to support Income Management being effective whatsoever in curbing issues of alcohol, gambling and illicit drug dependence. And some submissions have gone as far to suggest or even show evidence that negative outcomes such as an increase in poverty, domestic violence, aggravated crime and child neglect will and have increased in this trial and in others.
As always, you can view the tracker spreadsheet here (now with three graphs on the second sheet for those who like graphs), view or sync with my cache of the submissions, or you can get them directly from the Senate Inquiry submissions page.
This batch brings with it submissions from some of the biggest critics of the card, who have been there right from day one when it was proposed as the BasicsCard. We have Professor Eva Cox, an Adjunct Professor from Jumbunna UTS, who wrote a piece for the Guardian to highlight the flaws in the ORIMA evaluation of the CDC. Then there is Dr Elise Klein from the University of Melbourne, who only happened to have undertaken a research project into the Cashless Debit Card based on thirteen months of field-based research in the East Kimberley region – so she has first-hand experience in what the CDC looks like, and how it was implemented.
Then there is a submission from Dr Janet Hunt of the Australian National University, who has rubbished the ORIMA Wave 1 basically from the day it was released, as when she read the report, she discovered that it was extremely flawed and did not provide adequate evidence to draw the conclusions that had clearly been drawn by the Minister, Alan Tudge, in that the trial was a success and should be continued indefinitely. UNICEF Australia weighed in also and was a bit naughty with a whopping 25-page submission, none of which had anything good to say about the card or compulsory income management in general. Rather amusingly, they reference Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s statement about this being “an exercise in practical love” and respond with
compulsory income management in the form of the Cashless Debit Card model may not help build individual capacity or long-term community change, and may in effect build a dependency on welfare support
There is a submission by Professor Jon Altman from Deakin University, who has always opposed blanket income management, and was there at the what he refers to as the hastily convened Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the Provisions of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Bil 2007 and Associated Bills, highlighting then research in the USA showed that measures controlling the spending of welfare benefits have a high cost and limited benefits.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) has unsurprisingly suggested
that the Bill should not be passed without broader community consultation to ensure the full effects of the trial, including on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, are properly understood.
The Mayor of Logan also made a submission, in which he highlights concerns that there were no consultations with organisations representing medical professions or drug treatment providers
who have stated they believe the proposed trials as currently crafted are unlikely to have the impact being sought and instead will result in negative and unintended outcomes rather than behavoiural change.
There was a submission from a former trial participant (wait for it!) who became former because they challenged ORIMA and the DSS as to whether it was ethical for them to evaluate a trial where participation is mandatory and participants have not given genuine informed consent – and 20 minutes later was informed they are exempt from the trial. Then, there was the minor detail of Orima Research only getting approval from an ethics committee five months INTO the trial, in clear breach of the guidelines. And then there is the small issue of the documented proof of the card being able to be used to purchase alcohol, both in Kununurra and at the Parliament House gift shop! More disturbing, and indicative of how out of touch this government is was this statement:
When I told the Department of Social Services that I was now homeless and sleeping on the street, they did not offer me any assistance or advice.
And finally there is a submission from our very own friends, Say No To The Cashless Welfare Card Australia/ Hinker Region on behalf of the 6000+ members of the group, in which there is a much-needed recount of the change in attitude that has been seen in this region already since the announcement that Hinkler is to be next:
Since the announcement of the card coming to the Hinkler region we have seen public attitude based on misleading information, constant bullying online towards people and families who have not committed any crimes, branded drug addicts, drunks and bludgers, constantly attacked for standing up for themselves. Our people do not deserve to be treated as second class citizens as we see one section of the community going through their fight for equality at law, we are now seeing another section of our community at risk of losing their equality at law
The Cashless Welfare Debit Card is nothing more than financial apartheid
Blaming people who cannot defend themselves is cruel. Meanwhile the working people just carry on, drinking, drugging and mismanaging their incomes, still partaking in domestic violence and the like, whilst at the same time pointing the fingers at people on social security payments;